The United States of America is known for many things. Home to the 2016 baseball champions the Chicago Cubs, an incredibly strong military, and even a cronut being invented in New York (a doughnut-croissant hybrid mix). Unfortunately, there are less impressive things our great nation is known for like the opioid epidemic.
In October of 2017, the President of The United States declared a public health emergency regarding the use of opioids in our nation. While some individuals may not know too much about opiates, luckily we can reference experts Cynthia Kuhn, PhD., Scott Swartzwelder, PhD., and Wilkie Wilson, PhD., of Duke University and Duke University School of Medicine who can help us better understand the perception and facts about opioids.
The opioid crisis has been an intense issue, but has increased tremendously within the past years. According to Pathfinders, Facebook is working towards cutting down opioid abuse in America. One reason that there has been an intense rise in drug use is due to the wide availability of these toxic items. While there are many classifications of opioids that range in form, color, and strength, the medium strength class are obtainable through doctors. Some of these specific drugs are oxycodone and hydrocodone.
These medications can be prescribed by doctors to patients to help with pain, especially after dental procedures or surgery. Even though some classes of opioids have been taken off the shelves because they were widely abused, the drugs obtained from doctors are incredibly prevalent causes of drug overdoses.
One problem with opioids is the jubilant feeling they provide. We all want to be happy, but what are you willing to sacrifice to feel that pleasure? Some of us will watch a funny comedy to obtain comedic relief and increased serotonin levels in our brain. There are individuals where that is not enough, and they will resort to using drugs by either injecting or snorting the substance into their body to feel the immense joy and euphoria they are craving.
One reason that these opiates are so addictive is because the user feels a fantastic rush of pleasure and they enter a relaxed state where they have an extremely low sensitivity to pain-which is why they are often used as painkillers. Unlike substances like heroin or meth, individuals do not necessarily get addicted from the first use. It is essential to understand that all opiates are addictive, but they are not necessarily addictive until the user will do anything to get their next fix because they have lost control.
Even though there are multiple forms of opioids that can be inserted in the body through many ways, one thing is the same. Overdose is extremely likely and can happen upon the first use. Many individuals get so caught up in the amazing feeling that they don’t understand that with each use, or every higher dose, they are getting closer and closer to an overdose.
Although death and overdose and the worst situations that can occur from opioid use, there are still harmful things that can happen inside our bodies. If individuals snort or inject an opiate, it can “kill” the vein or damage the receptors in the nose. Organs can also go into a relaxed state that causes the individual to stop breathing or have an extremely low heartbeat.
Opioids Destroying Relationships
Although opiates can ruin one’s bodies, it can also damage relationships. It is an unfortunate reality that children are growing up with a single parent, or no parent because their parental figure passed away from the use of opiates. Like any drug, the use of dangerous substances can cause emotional distress and ruin family ties. An individual might be a user, and while their family may want to help, or not be involved in their life, it is a strong possibility that the individuals could have a stronger relationship if there were no presence of drugs.
There are so many things that can take ones life away, but when individuals dabble with drugs, they are essentially signing their death note because every time they get high, it could be their last moment alive on earth. I wouldn’t risk my life for a temporary high that could make me lose my life and family, so why would you?
It is a common misunderstanding that it is extremely tough to beat an addiction. Even though it is tough to overcome, it is not impossible. In the face of immediate overdose, there is an antagonist called (Narcan) that can immediately reverse the effects that are life-threatening. Yes, this is a quick fix in the face of danger, but it is not an absolute cure. Some drugs counteract the effects of withdrawal and make it easier to beat the addiction and feelings of withdrawal.
One of the best ways to overcome this type of addiction is to go to an outpatient facility and get professional help. At these rehabilitation facilities, they have qualified nurses and staff that have treated similar individuals and know how to help beat the addiction. With the utilization of group and family therapy, art programs, music classes, daily exercise and more, individuals with an obsession with opiates can come and receive the help they deserve.
Kuhn, Cynthia, et al. “9: Opiates.” Buzzed: the Straight Facts about the Most Used and Abused Drugs from Alcohol to Ecstasy, W.W. Norton & Company, 2014, pp. 221-242.